• Risk for Child Abuse, Neglect

    More than five children will die each day in the U.S. from child abuse or neglect. Approximately 900,000 children are victims of child abuse or neglect each year. It's alarming to realize that the U.S. death rate is more than double the rate in France, Canada, Japan, Germany, Great Britain and Italy. Children with disabilities are the most likely to suffer abuse.

    The Complex Care Center at Cincinnati Children's recommends resources where parents and caregivers can turn for support when facing the challenges of child abuse or neglect.
  • Child abuse involves doing something or failing to do something that results in harm to a child or puts a child at risk of harm. Child abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional. Neglect, or not providing for a child's needs, is also considered to be a form of abuse. Munchausen's by Proxy syndrome is a unique form of abuse where a parent or caregiver misleads others into thinking that the child has medical problems by deliberately creating or exaggerating the child’s symptoms in several ways. They might lie, falsify medical records, or induce symptoms by giving the child medicine or toxic substances. As a result, doctors usually order tests, try different types of medications, and may even hospitalize the child or perform unnecessary surgery.

    Most child abuse occurs within the family, often by parents or relatives who themselves were abused as children. Neglect and mistreatment of children is also more common in families living in poverty and among parents who are teenagers or are drug or alcohol abusers. According to the American Bar Association, child protective services agencies received nearly 3.2 million reports of child maltreatment but were only able to investigate a little more than half of these cases. The recession is inflicting a further hit, with many states imposing budget cuts that affect child welfare programs. Inadequate resources are stretching state child protection agencies too thin to properly serve at risk children and their families.
    Children with chronic health conditions or disabilities are the most likely to suffer abuse. Some children who have never had a disability before may become disabled due to abuse. Children with disabilities may be more at risk because of parent or caregiver stress and frustration in caring for them combined with being more vulnerable because of the disability. Lack of caregiver knowledge and ability along with inadequate community supports also contribute.

    Children, especially those with developmental disabilities, may not report abuse because they don't understand what abuse is or what acts are abusive. Communication problems may also make it difficult for children to understand and talk about episodes of abuse. Only recently have pictures demonstrating acts of abuse and sexual anatomy been added to communication boards and assistive technology devices.

    It is a crime in many states, including Ohio, for medical professionals such as physicians, therapists, nurses and social workers to not report an incident of suspected abuse or neglect. Anyone should report a suspected or witnessed abuse to the local police or children's protective services:

    State laws vary regarding who is required to report abuse or neglect. If you need assistance or have questions, you can contact ChildHelp National Child Abuse 24-hour hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

    Your local community can help fight child abuse by advocating for the necessary laws and resources. You can find suggestions in our Advocacy section. Other helpful links include: 

  • Contact Us

    We want to hear from you. Email us with your feedback or suggestions for additional resources. Call our Family Resource Center at 513-636-7606 with your questions.